tv Senator Heidi Heitkaml and Cindy Mc Cain Discuss Human Trafficking CSPAN May 12, 2017 11:01am-12:15pm EDT
so shelf your ego, put your head down and bulldog forward. >> so the goals, excellent, the agenda, plenty -- peace, protection of the environment, pride and pluralism. >> just a few past commencement speeches from the c-span library. again this year watch commencement speeches on may 20th, 27th, memorial day and june 3rd on c-span and c-span.org. >> democratic senator heidi heitkamp and cindy mccain talk about human trafficking, an event held at new york university at their washington d.c. campus. this is just over an hour. >> i thank you two for hosting this very important discussion today.
thank you senator, and mrs. mccain for coming to join us to talk about human trafficking. i've worked on human trafficking for 20 years now as a lawyer and academic. i've witnessed tremendous changes in the field where much of early anti-trafbing efforts focused entirely on women and girls and to the sex sector, we have finally come to understand traffic as a phenomenon that affects men, women and children in a wide range of sectors that affect our daily lives. we recognize trafficking can take place on farms that produce the food we eat and in the factories, along the supply chains that produce the clothes we wear and it can take place in traffic home, and even in our public schools in the deceptive and abuse of teachers abroad. as our understanding of the
depth has evolved so has our efforts. in the countries from which trafficked people originate, the lack of economic and educational opportunities compelling individuals to accept various conditions in hopes of finding a means for survival. or the destination of the united states, the lack of retaliato retaliatory -- or in the case of trafficking within our own borders, the failure to provide adequate care and shelter to our homeless and runaway youth. this confluence of factors among so many others have contributed to our current situation where an estimated 20.9 million people
around the world are trafficked or in forced labor. thankfully what is undeniably an immense global problem has inspired a deep commitment on the part of government, ngos, corporations and sid like yourself to take parts in efforts to eradicate human trafficking. i have the great privilege today of moderating a discussion with two of the leading voices in the movement, senator heidi heitkamp and cindy mccain. i will introduce our speakers and then spend about 30 nints discussion prompted by a series of questions they've i've prepared in advance and then we'll open up to questions from the audience. so to introduce senator heitkamp. she is the first female senator
elected from north dakota. she has quickly become a leader in the fight against human trafficking, first sounding the alarm bells as a law enforcement issue in 2013 and she serves as ranking member on the subcommittee. she helped pass the human trafficking act which president obama signed into law, securing trikter punishments for traffickers and included her bill to provide safe harbor laws nationwide. after working to hold the ceo of back page.com, a site notoriously used by traffickers to buy and sell victims accountable for refusing to testify on his company's failure to disclose safe guards against trafficking, she voted to hold him in civil contempt of congress, the first time the
senate has done so in 20 years. [ applause ] earlier this year senator heitkamp challenged leadership of back page for its role of human trafficking on its site. when the u.s. senate committee on momentland secured and governmental affairs and permanent subcommittee on investigations on which she serves released a report finding the company knowingly facilitated online sex trafficking. she recently reintroduced her bipartisan soar act to make sure heath workers have the training they need to identify and help protect victims they frequently see and will keep fighting to make sure our most vulnerable, our runaway and homeless youth, don't fall prey too these crimes. senator heitkamp continues to work to build a strong global network to work against these courtrooms, traveling across the country and with department of
homeland security trainings. i'm also pleased to mrs. mrs. cindy mccain. mrs. cindy hensley mccain has spent her life fighting on behalf of women and children and has been a strong leader in the fight against human trafficking. she works seamlessly across political, public and private lines and has engaged with the national football league, the international center for sports security, both the democratic and republican national committees, polaris, national center for missioning and exploited children, google and many organizations to work to eradicate human tracking and has advised in london, kenya, congo, cambodia and the ivory coast. s she is dedicated to efforts to reduce human trafficking in arizona, throughout the united states and around the world, as
well as working to improve the lives of victims of human trafficking. through her work with the mccain institute, several partnerships have been formed with anti-trafficking organizations working on solving various aspects of the problem. mrs. mccain has worked to shed a light on the different facets of every day life affected by human trafficking such as law enforcement, health care, the internet and child welfare systems. she addresses human trafficking at the international level by heading directly to the front lines of the world with the most vulnerable populations subject to human trafficking. on the shorelines of greece and turkey, mrs. mccain worked with organizations to educate refugeeson the signs of human tracking and to avoid falling prey to traffickers. she's traveled, tense i around the world learning more about the issues and the multitude of ways to fight this heinous crime. she sits on the advisory boards of too small to fail and warriors and quiet waters. she holds an undergraduate
degree in education and masters in special education from usc and is a member of usc rossier school of j kaegs board of counselors. mrs. cindy hensley mccain passionly fights by convenes ak dem ings, politicians, corporation officials and technology officials to work together to stop this crime against humanity. i'm going to lead off the discussion with a question to both of you. so how did you first get involved in the trafficking field? >> you can start because you tell such a fantastic story and i'll look really bad if you tell that story after me. >> first of all, i'm so glad to be here. and i hope that we together can have a good discussion tonight. the first time i ever saw human trafficking, i did not know what it was. i was traveling in india, i had just finished some work that we were doing in calcutta and we
have a daughter from bangladesh so i was out trying to buy some sari feerl for her, finished what i was doing in the kiosk and was busy with that. calcutta is a very vibrant, sighting and a-- exciting and ae noise going on inside and outside. as i went to pay at the kiosk, i can hear this fluttering of noise and i asked him what it was and he said it just my family, they live below the floor boards. very possible in a place like this. when i went to lay the money down, i looked down and you could see between the floor board, i know i looked at at least 50 sets of limb eyes and they were all little girls and they were all, you know, they weren't all his, that's for
sure. but what i did was -- is i didn't do anything. i didn't know what i was looking at, i didn't know what -- i just couldn't fathom what was going on. so i walked out of that kiosk, got on my nice airplane home, went back to my lovely home with my lovely family and didn't do anything. but what it did do was spur me on to find me out just what it was. so this has been a long quest for me to not only understand the issue completely but also figure out a way that we can stop this stuff. it's horrible. so for me it was like -- you know, you can turn something bad in something good and i'm just grateful that i had the experience and can actually be in a position of being able to do something now. >> well, for me, i'm the former attorney general from north dakota. one of the reasons why i ran in '92 is at the time the domestic violence programs in my state and across the country were in the public health arena.
this was not considered a criminal justice issue. if you think about it, in 1992, we were attacking this as if it was a family problem. and there was ongoing and consistent tension between law enforcement and the voadvocatest that time. if you ever want to see when people say you'll never get people to get along who had that much animosity towards each other, you should look at the seamless work that law enforcement in many, many states and domestic violence advocates are doing today to combat domestic violence. and so that was kind of my frame of reference. and when i ran for the united states senate in 2012, i went and visited all my law enforcement friends, who started talking to me about -- because it was a time of tremendous
growth in north dakota, they said, heidi, we've never seen this level of prostitution before and we just don't have time to investigate it. we're investigating assaults in bars, murders, we're investigating thefts, we just haven't had time to investigate this prostitution but we see it everywhere. and i got to thinking about this prostitution in north dakota, what that actually meant and just look cindy, started kind of rethinking what that meant in my state and why that was and started really learning about what goes on when people buy other human beings so that they can resell them to other human beings. and when they capture and imprison other human beings so that they can resell other human beings. now, the easiest place here in terms of public policy is obviously minors, is getting the word prostitution out of the language as we arrest minors,
beginning to address what we do with people who purchase children, whether we treat them as typical people engaged in the sex trade and as johns as opposed to child predators and pedophiles. so we have a whole language around prostitution that doesn't really fit with what's going on and the heinous nature of this crime. now, to give you an idea of how difficult it is to begin to have that discussion, not only in law enforcement circles, but a discussion about how we as a society ought to look at commercial sex, we began this discussion about what do the laws say and how should we ch g change these laws. mile-per-ho my first interest came as a result of indigenous native american women and the stories
they would tell of being sold by their cousins, or sold by their families for a fix or just money and just literally thrown away. and when you look at the dynamics of domestic violence and you look at the dynamics of trafficking, the one thing that is a constant is the devaluing of that person. you know, if you want to get someone in a position where you can in fact abuse them in a family relationship, you devalue them first. and when you want to take a child, who already probably is susceptible, you devalue that child. and that's why a lot of what we really need to talk about in this lane really goes to the runaway and homeless youth program. like saying this this wait thisk there are a lot of people think there is laura ingalls wilder
running through the fields and some dark monster swoops her up and carries her away to this evil place. i'm not saying that doesn't happen and doesn't fit the profile but fundamentally they're kids who have been thrown away, kid on the street, probably engaging in survival sex at some point and it just takes the next step. so we have to start looking at this issue differently. and the same way we morphed from thinking that this was a family problem and that this was a problem of public health in domestic violence, we have to start being very, very serious as a society in addressing the victimization that happens in commercial sex. and where we talk about minors, because that seems to be kind of that entry point, almost all of women that i've met who are in
the life or who began in this life began as minors. and so to simply draw that harsh line and say, well, because you're 18, you know longer have the protections that we want to see for other women, for girls seems really harsh. and so we've got a lot of work to do in terms of our cultural chang b change but it has to begin with change of the dynamic like we did in domestic violence and really begin to be very honest about how complacent we are as a society and how willing we are to turn away from this whole problem of human slavery, particularly human sex slavery. >> thank you. so one of the -- and picking up on this point about child victims of sex trafficking, one of the most troubling statistics that i've come across in recent years concerns restitution to victims. the human trafficking pro bono legal center, a fabulous ngo,
did put out a report a couple of years ago that found through enormous research of prosecution dockets across the country found in only 36% of trafficking prosecutions this prosecutors actually ask for restitution for victims. now, that is a mandatory requirement, right. prosecutors are supposed to ask for restitution and restitution is very important in order to fund after care, continuing care to deal with the trauma and the other needs of the victims of trafficking. and i'm wondering -- yet on 36% of trafficking prosecutions did we find that the request was even made. so i'm wondering if you might speak to why that is and what do you think we could do about that
problem. and i'll also add the least likely to receive restitution was found to be child victims of sex trafficking. >> there's a number of issues and i know heidi can speak to this as well. but number one, first of all, getting a child into court to testify against a trafficker is a monumental feat. most of the time they run. once they get them in, do they have to face them to testify against them or are they allowed to video testify? that's an issue right now in arizona. there's a number of factors, so getting to the point of, quote, restitution, is a long, long road. now, with that said, we completely -- i mean, it's the law. i completely agree with you, but until we can actually educate our prosecutors on the difficulty that it is to get a child into court, we're not going to get anywhere on this and we're going to continue to see low numbers, less
prosecutions and really more just disappear -- kids that disappear as a result of it. >> you know, when i was attorney general, i started a special unit in my office. you can imagine north dakota's -- there's only 1,400 swore peace officers in all of north dakota to give you a sense of kind of the population base and there are prosecutors in fargo, there's prosecutors in grand forks, our major cities who are well equipped to handle that kind of prosecution, but if it happens in slope county or, you know, these counties that are very sparsely populated where there's a very part-time prosecutor or states attorney, it's really difficult to develop the experti expertise to do the. on child sexual assault, cases you say that's not trafficking, absolutely it's trafficking. it's the same trauma -- worse trauma than sexual assault that
doesn't involve, you know, repeated behaviors. but if you look at it, we need to have a whole different look on how we address prosecutions and how we address victimization in the courtroom. it's going to require continued and ongoing training for prosecutors, for judges. because frequently judges will not grant leniency in terms of videotaped, they'll save you have a right to confront your accuser. these are all challenges in any kind of child sexual assault prosecution. they're also challenges as an adult sexual assault where people just don't want to live through this experience again and that's what it requires. so we need highly trained prosecutors, we need specialized units in states like mine that actually are equipped and trained to handle these kind of
investigations and these kind of prosecutions because you can have the best prosecutor in the world but if the investigation is botched, it's going to be awfully hard to prove up this assault. this is where our bill on soar, which requires training in hospitals comes into focus. and so what we recently on the back page hearing, we heard from a number of mothers whose children had been trafficked and the tchallenges they had. i asked a simple question, what would you like to have seen done to have changed outcomes for your child and both of them said better training in emergency rooms. both of them felt that was a point of intervention and then when they actually showed up for the investigative, forensic exam, no one knew how to do a
forensic exam that involved a trafficked victim. it want what you -- wasn't what you would expect in a sexual assault case. it was much more complicated. we need to get the resources to develop the best practices like we did in domestic violence prosecutions where we went ahead in prosecution without victim testimony. frequently in domestic violence prosecutions that happens because frequently the victim will recant because of the power relationship that they're in. and so we've got to have trand uni -- trained units and when we train those units, they're not going to question that formula that you have for restitution. it would be interesting, i ask the professor of the restitution that's ordered, how much of that is actually paid. >> even less. >> so having the judgment is one thing. the ability to be paid and
execute on that judgment is another huge challenge. this is going to take really specialized units in states especially like mine but really all across the country. and the states that have been the most successful are states that have these units. minneapolis is a great example. ramsey coney does a great job, they have great investigators, they have great prosecutors. so it's not like you have to reinvent the wheel. i think we should be doing more to build that capacity within the prosecutorial world because it will go a long way. >> great, thank you. so i want to continue on the prosecution line and ask about the disparity in the number of prosecutions per sued fursued f trafficking versus labor trafficking. this is globally here and in the united states. so in the united states in the year 2015 only 9 out of 957
prosecutions initiated were of labor trafficking. globally out of 18,930 prosecutions only 857 prosecutions were labor trafficking. i wonder if you might speak to how we might be able to promote more pro active investigation of labor trafficking cases around the world and here in the united states. >> well, you've got the story, cindy, you're on this. >> you ask a good question. this is a problem, as you said, all across the country. labor trafficking is grossly underreported. for many,many, many reasons, primarily the companies that are actually using trafficked labor and know they're using trafficked labor aren't going to report anything and they're not going to report to the supply chain entities that this is actually going on.
there's another portion of this, though. the mccain institute actually has a project that's just beginning in texas on just this issue working with prosecutors, it's educating prosecutors on the issues. it convoluted many times. not all labor track victims are illegal. many, many, many of them are legal within the united states. so making our prosecutors understand the depth of the issue, what it is, what to do, all the things that you and i know sitting here but that many prosecutors, particularly in rural counties don't know or don't believe it's even going n on. and also making sure that we in the larger perspective of this is making sure that companies who are sourcing the fruits and vegetables or the textiles or whatever it may be are doing due diligence on supply chains. this is something that i would like to see the united states not only take on officially and
make companies accountable for what's going on within their supply chains to the best of their ability, understanding that there are going to be some problems that they probably can't find or won't find in time, but everyone has to play a part in this and i no longer and i think heidi agrees with me accept the fact that a company just didn't know. there's too many resources out there now. so from that aspect, i think it's very important. now, before i hand it off to heidi, where we're working in texas, the prosecutors in that part of the state, they simply said to us it doesn't exist. it's not a problem here. texas. i mean, so we're kind of starting at ground zero in many, many places on this issue. >> i give credit to the department of homeland security who began a blue campaign, it's in its early stages. but when their trainers go out
to talk to local prosecutors, they don't restrict it to the sex trafficking, they talk about labor trafficking, about domestic help, what to look for, how to kind of spot it. i think the beginning stage is to build an awareness that this actually happens. we have modern day slavery in our country. there are people who are enslaved, who are marginalized and who go to work every day and earn not a dime. so it's like sex trafficking. when we began this discussion in western north dakota, i remember going to a meeting -- cindy was there with me in a little town called wattford city and we got around the table and we were talking about this problem and there were community leaders there and you could just see them roll their eyes. they didn't do it -- they
probably would have done it if i were there but they weren't going cindy. you could see they thought we were exaggerating this until the chief of police said today on back pages there are 20 advertisements for commercial sex in wattford city. and it was like dead silence in that room. because the reality of that had to be recognized. now, i know, think about this, we had a massive labor shortage in my state during the oil boom. any one of you who thinks there wasn't labor trafficking, there wasn't modern day slavery, i think we'd be too naive. not one report of it. so frequently it's done, you know, the guy who's running the hotel desperately needs people to perform janitorial services, maids, clean-up, they can't find
the workforce to hire directly, they contract. they don't look much beyond that contract price. and so what's really happening there? are those people actually getting paid, are they getting paid fairly? and at a time when you have a big explosion of work, are the investigators actually showing up, the labor investigators. so we need better training to identify this problem and we need better training for prosecutors to prosecute this problem. we think anywhere from 20 to 30 million people in the world are currently enslaved. anyone here who believes that none of those people are in our country, you're wrong. because we're a very vibrant economy and just as people will look for market for sex trafficking, people are going to look for a market for labor
trafficking and i think that it's not on purpose. how many of you sorry a story about a note and a thursday. a couple of you. that happens occasionally where someone buys something at a big bach store, this note happened to be written in chinese and the woman took it to a translator who translated it. the note pretty much said i'm in prison, we don't know if it was in prison or in prison labor but she was crying out for help. it shouldn't take a note in a purse to ask someone. i happened to have a meeting that week with the company. i won't say who it was, you can check it out yourself.
>> oh, i will. >> you do. >> they were really receptive. i said i'd like to know what you're doing in your supply chain because it might have been three steps removed. when we are the largest economy purchasing these goods and services, i think we have a greater obligation to make sure that the person producing these goods are not slaves. we can leverage that economic strength that we have for i think a very good purpose, which is ending slavery in our world. >> thank you. so to pick up on the point of the fact that trafficking occurs right here within our borders, i wanted to raise an issue that came up at a recent conference sponsored by the freedom network. it was a conference that brought together hundreds of advocates working, direct service providers, who worked with
trafficked people and there was a persistent theme that came across during the conference, which was a very deep concern about the impact that heightened immigration enforcement could have on trafficking victims coming forward to report abuse. as you very rightly said and i'm so glad that you clarified for the audience that many trafficked persons are here in the united states in documented status, but we do have a lot of undocumented people who are trafficked here in the united states. and i'm wondering what we might be able to do or what you think we ought to do about trafficked persons who are undocumented, who now because of heightened immigration enforcement may be all the more wary of interacting with government agencies, to report the abuse that they're suffering. >> i'll take this one first. you know, this power
relationship has created a real vulnerability in trafficking. and it's -- it was bad before, i mean, you all have read the stories of things that have happened in the fields where somebody who is a supervisor feels like they can just take a woman out of the field, rape her and then send her back to work in the same morning. so this was happening before we had this heightened awareness within the community that there will be additional enforcement actions taken. i believe personally that it has, in fact, made people who were already incredibly vulnerable even more vulnerable. how we need to address that i think is going to be with a lot of education and a lot of awareness about what happens with vulnerable people but it
also requires that people who wear the label of citizens began to speak out and i know we can get into a discussion about sanctuary cities, we can get into a discussion about kind of zones of protection that would not result in deportation with reports. we need to figure that piece out. because it's not an american value to let that happen in our country. it's not an american value. and when people can act with impunity because they have no fear of retribution, no fear of prosecution, we only add to the vulnerability. so i don't know that i have the answer, but i am very concerned, as the question would suggest you are, that this has in fact created an even greater opportunity for really bad
people to do really bad things. >> i see two things in this. number one, the litigious society that we live in now has driven so many people to say i don't want to get involved. i don't know what could happen so count me out on this whole thing. that has to change because this issue has to be one that you engage in period. if we're ever going to stop it. and secondly, this is also a cry to be able to further education, train and make aware our local law enforcement, that the guys that are actually on the ground that come across this because trafficked victims are handled differently. but as to your point, we are going to have to do something to enable these people to, number one, not be trafficked and, number two, if they are trafficked and frightened to come forward, not so frightened. i don't know what that is.
that's the job for my husband and heidi here. but it is. it is one thing that you as i think activists, humanitarians, lawyers, whatever your future lies ahead for you, this is up to you. this is your time. we're in a perfect storm on this issue now, and it is incumbent on all of us to get involved in this on a daly basis. >> thank you. so we have reached the point of the trprogram where we open up e forum to questions from the audience. we may have a microphone. we can have people stand up and identify yourself. hands. anybody interested. do you want to go ahead right here in the front? you. >> okay. >> good, okay. >> hi. i came here from california,
northern, and i'm very aware of what's going on in san francisco. now senator harris had made her first priority immigration issue and she's former attorney general. so i wanted to ask you the last thing you said, because of discrimination and the enforcement today, most victims were undocumented would never dare report rapes going on. so there's that kind of -- my question is does that kind of reinforce the issue that you bring up? because if they go up and report the rape, then they get deported. that's the issue senator cam allah-harris is doing. >> i really respect the work
that the senator is doing. she's on our committee and she raises the issue every day. any time you have people who are diminished in power, and that clearly is someone who is working picking tomatoes and then undocumented is someone who is marginalized. you're going to create a vulnerability. and if you don't give them the power to step up without endangering their own self, you will create a very toxic environment for continuing the kind of abuse that we know happens every day in america. so we need to figure this out. i can't tell you what we need to do but we need to make sure that the department of homeland security is engaged and understands the challenges of these families.
one great example, recently there was a discussion about whether women who presented at the border from central america fleeing the murder capital of the world, the murder countries of the world, who would have their baby taken away from them if they came to the border as a deterrent or as some way to prevent them from even coming. and, you know, we received a lot of letters and we raised this issue with secretary kelly when he appeared in front of our committee and he committed to us that he wouldn't. this is again another area that we should be raising with the leadership of the department of homeland security saying how do you balance this? just allowing this to continue to give kind of open season on
people who are vulnerable to be victims of crime and then making them fearful for even reporting it, how do we solve that problem? and i think we need to have that discussion with the department of home land security as they're pursuing their policies because -- and the public needs to know that this occurs and they need to weigh in. because i don't think there's anyone i know in north dakota who thinks that a woman, even if she's undocumented and raped should not have access to justice. and that's really what we're talking about. deterrence can work up to pint, b -- point, but if there's no deterrence, if there is no prosecution, if there is no opportunity for intervention by authorities, then we have a condition that is greatly exacerbated going forward. so my pledge to you is the next
time talk to your senator, who i like a lot and talk about this issue and whether we can raise it with the department of homeland security. >> how about to the right. yeah, that'd be great. >> hi. i actually work in agriculture in minnesota and both of you come from very heavy agricultural states, and i do a lot of work on supply chains. it's probably not a surprise to you we don't really talk about human trafficking as we should. so a question is to both of you is what can private companies who have a lot of supplier power do to create the right incentives to start addressing this problem and with the caveat of not scaring people because we've already talked about sometimes the pressure comes down and it creates the wrong behavior but positive things you think these big ag and food companies can do to help what you're addressing. >> well, as i said before, i
think we -- not we but i mean our senators and congressmen offering incentives for companies to do just that, do the right thing, not the wrong thing. there are plenty of tools out there for companies to be able to be research supply chains and research what's going on and there's also, as you know, ngos that will actually do it for them and report back to them. so in my opinion, and i take a hard line on this, in my opinion in this day and age, there is no reason for a company to say i don't know how to do this, i can't do it, it's too overwhelming. i don't buy that at all. in the case that heidi just raised about the chinese letter inside the purse, that happened in arizona. unfortunately for the company involved, they hit the one state -- there's many states but the one state that's really hard on this issue on these guys. i know there are governors after
them now. this has opened up a wole lot of different issues on this. it's too bad that we have to have an example. there should be no examples. but as far as incentives, heidi can maybe answer that better than i can on what kind of incentives you'd offer. that would be what you would do. >> first off, cindy is so modest. she really is. she convenes at the deadona forum, where really the attendees look like the fortune 100 and every noon at the sedona forum since i've been going there, she tells all of these ceos what they need to be doing to stop trafficking in the world. so she's being very -- i mean, and that kind of shout out, that kind of we're watching you, this could in fact affect, you know, how people perceive your business, this is in fact your
brand and you don't want your brand to be associated with trafficking. and so doesn't underestimate the bully pulpit and what it means when you sign the big light on it and people say, okay, that's not something that i want to be part of. i think that the best thing that we can do is continue to push through corporate governance structures saying this is first off a value. that's a value of our corporation that we are not going to profit off slave labor, and we are going to do everything to prevent that. that's probably not something we're going to legislate but that's something we're going to ask repeatedly get done. and hopefully, again, never underestimate especially in the new era of social media, never underestimate the power of being a citizens and demanding. no one would have known about this purse nationally or
globally unless it was a facebook/twilt are post that everyone sees it. so when we see it, it's so important we say it, we say something. sometimes we don't want to look at it and we don't want o get involved, as cindy said but if we really are committed as. we didn't eradicate slavery in 1864, slavery exists today and we have to be willing to speak out against it and call it out when we see it. and i think that's an important thing to do. >> how about on this side. right in front. that would be great. >> hi. first of all, i just wanted to thank you both for coming here today and also being such wonderful advocates for this very important issue pip work with an anti-trafficking group back here at new york university, and we continuously
face this challenge of conveying the importance of this issue to others because a lot of people feel distanced to it and don't really recognize how big of an issue it is here in our country. i was wondering as vocal activists for this very important cause what advice you have to young people and to people in general who are trying to advocate for this cause and spread awareness for it. >> go ahead. >> i am such a believer in the power of people who have a mission and a cause to really engage. and i think that we're building an army against slavery in this country and hopefully expanding it to the world. we're building an army and we're making it socially unacceptable. i will tell you when you look at the example of domestic violence have we eradicated domestic violence in the country? absolutely not.
but we have greatly diminished the numbers. and that's because we as a society, more than anything, increased prosecutions, increased awareness, all of that but we as a society have said that's not a family problem, that's a crime and we're going o see it prosecuted. and this is how you recognize the issue and this is how you recognize what's going on and this is why you need to be the advocate for that family. what i would -- what i would say to you is that there are tons of great organizations that you can get involved in, both globally and locally. there are tons of great workers out there who are do inand lots of opportunities to engage very broadly in this effort. but i would say that it's really
important that you become educated about what it is. just for instance, i think that there's a lot of people who get involved and then maybe the victim goes back to the life and you think, oh, why did i do that? you know what? you can't give up on her because if you give up on her,or on everybody that can come behind her. that's a constant frustration whether it domestic violence, who have been thrown away and maybe found at least some structure in their live in living this life and we have to be vigilant and we have to stick up for vk temperature and that's not always easy, i will tell you that. i have a sister who basically runs the runaway program in north dakota. she does incredible outreach work.
her whole job is to get the kid off the street before they're recognized as vulnerable and in the life. some of the toughest clients she has are clients that there is no trust left, they don't trust anyone. so that that recovery process i so difficult, and we have to stay in the fight. >> may i also say, this -- the issue of human trafficking is not a sexy issue. it's not one -- and i'm not comparing it to, but just to give you some idea, the environment, let's say, or let's keep our rivers clean and all those things. those are understandable and cognitive issues that you can get behind without much education on it. human trafficking is a whole different deal. there's a huge ick factor to it when you talk about, especially when you talk about the customers involved in this. you want to see an audience completely turn and walk out, that's the issue you start talking about, but these are national issues, these are basic human rights issues. you're talking about human life and the ability to live free.
this is america. that's what we should be doing here. so don't give up. in fact, get mad. i tell people that all the time. don't, you know, don't just take it, get mad. so don't give up. we need you. >> how about in the tie. in the middle of the room. >> thank you, senator heitkamp and mrs. mccain, for underscoring how much further we still have to go. my question is about the role of corruption in developing countries. and whether or not corruption both at the highest levels of government, but also in law enforcement, how does that hinder the ability for the united states to collaborate with them to effectively address
this issue? and for also developing countries to work with one another to, you know, take a very hard and serious look at the role that corruption plays in fostering human trafficking. thank you. >> i was just going to mention that we have something called the millennial challenge corporation. are you familiar with that? who here is familiar with -- yeah, so you know this is an effort to avoid providing additional dollars to corrupt governments so that it would just go to government and not to people. and this is a tough balancing act, because when governments are corrupt and they fall off the list of governments that can be assisted with american aid or american intervention, it makes their population even more vulnerable. and so we have to make sure that we're working in governance in
governments if we're going to solve any kind of problem with violence. we have a great friend, howard buffett, who has a foundation. he works with tony blair, whose philanthropic efforts is all about building, you know, eliminating corruption from governments, building institutional governments that can better respond and better react to challenges in their own countries. and so i think we have to -- we have to look at that governance piece, because frequently no amount of good intervention can help if the government itself is corrupt. i agree with your premise, but we have to work to build governments. and that's -- talk about hard work. that's incredibly hard work. the area that we focus a lot on, or that i focus a lot on is central america. and cindy and i took a trip to mexico, and el salvador, but
mexico is where we met with officials who were just at the beginning of that discussion where they have a special unit within the attorney general's office in mexico that deals with violence against women and kind of that new idea that changes the culture of the government that this is unacceptable. and so i think it takes -- it takes respecting people, where they are, but also nudging them to understand that the -- there is a universal morality, right, so people who will say -- in fact, i was just with a friend who this weekend we were talking about selling children, and -- in a country. i don't want to tell her story, but she said, one of the americans who was working on an environmental issue, well, that's just what happens in this country. you know, so his goal was to
save the animals, and he was willing to overlook the selling of children. and we have to say there is a universal morality. we all should be bound by that universal morality and we have an obligation as citizens of the world to say those are horrible, but we have to have governments that we can work with to change those outcomes and provide that protection. i mean, look we just talked about how difficult it is for this government to protect, our government, the best government in the world, in my opinion, to protect the most vulnerable, and so you can't do one without the other, and i would say there's a lot of good philanthropic efforts to build capacity to eliminate impunity and corruption in government so that we can, in fact, do a better job protecting people. and so don't think we've ignored
the government piece. >> i can briefly say, because there is corruption in a country, no matter what country it is, that is no reason to give up on the country. this is a slow slog, specifically on this issue. a lot of issues, but it's a slow slog, but i truly believe with the pieces that we're talking about here, we can really make a difference in this issue. but, again, i understand your frustration with corruption. >> okay, how about on the right side. >> first, i just want to say thank you so much for the work that you do. it's really important work and it's also hard work. my question that i have tonight is, it has to do with sort of this -- it's sort of, i feel, a little controversial, but when
you talk about sex trafficking, i was wondering if you could touch on the difference between sexual exploitation for sex work and, i say this lightly, but voluntary sex work, because i think that there is a difference, and, you know, i know it's hard to sort of differentiate, but, you know, within that field, i think there's this idea that that's perpetuated, that, you know, women can't be sexual at all, and i was wondering if you could touch on that. and i know it's controversial, but i would love to hear what you have to say on it. >> this is -- this is what i would say. the premise is that there's people who are voluntarily engaging in, you know, commercial sex and this is -- this is, you know, isn't this their right, isn't this their
choice. i think that if you sat down and really had a long conversation with most women who are in this life, they didn't begin believing they had a choice. i think -- i think that it is -- it is out of necessity. it is out of, you know, what's happened earlier, the trauma that they've experienced early on, so i don't really accept the premise. i'm not saying it's impossible for anyone to make that choice themselves. i'm not saying that. and i think that we can have a debate about whether that should be a societal, you know, a crime, or whether that's a choice that people make that we shouldn't interfere with, but i will tell you in my experience, that is a very small sliver. and i tell you a story, some of the most jaded people i know are cops. they see everything, right? and so i had the head of the bureau of criminal investigation in north dakota tell me how he got sensitized to this issue, and he talked about this big
rash of prostitution in north dakota, prostitution, and he would sit down, you know, just curious, you know, started talking to these women who had been arrested. you know, what was their life? and every person had a story of victimization early on. and every person had a story that this wouldn't have been their life goal in any way, shape, or form, that they were, in fact, coerced either with drugs or with -- with what happens when people are sold into the life. and so i don't want to be disrespectful to you. i'm not saying it could never happen, but i'm telling you that's a small slice of the problem that we have. >> i struggle with it, you know, thinking about that. >> i think -- i think, you know, it's interesting, because i think after we shut down back pages, claire got a lot of letters from women that said i can't make a living because of
you, so a lot of people -- she heard the reaction that you're talking about. and i just think that we have to be eyes wide open about this. and it's one of the toughest issues that we confront, which is tell me the difference between prostitution, which people have in their mind, and trafficking. and let me tell you, there is -- there is cases that are clear and there might be cases that are clear, but there's a whole lot of intervening events that really blur that distinction, and i have to tell you, in my mind, i'm like way over here. i think there's very little of that voluntary stuff, and i think there's a lot of life history that goes with being in this life. >> i encountered legalization of prostitution, the issue, when the super bowl came to arizona in 2014. we had made a huge effort as a
state to help stop trafficking, to be alert, vigilant in what we do if we find it, all those things. and the bunny ranch people from las vegas decide they were going to park themselves in arizona and follow me around. which is a new encounter for me. bunny ranch, for those who don't know, is a prostitution is legal within the city limits of las vegas and this is a place that does just that. and the bunny ranch people wanted me to hear their argument on why we should legalize prostitution. i don't even like the word prostitution, but i'm using their words. legalize prostitution and why this is a good thing. and i never sat down with them, because i don't buy their argument, number one, but number two is, i agree with heidi, these -- most of these people don't enter into this because they want to. they are hurt in some way, they are trafficked, all these things. so it's up to us. and this is the other thing i want to say. this is not a sexualization of women. this is a crime.
so in my opinion, and i know you struggle with it, it's very evident that you do, those are some issues that you should look at with regards to whether or not it's the right thing to do or whether we should consider it prostitution and legal in some way or another. thank you. >> thank you so much. >> down here in the front. >> i kind of want to -- first of all, my name is matthew, and i'm from colorado. i wanted to ask you a bit of a follow up. if you could just give a little bit of a personal stories that maybe you've heard of how someone actually enters, say, the trade or how someone actually becomes a victim. because, for example, my parents are farmers in colorado, and we participate in the hb program, but i can't imagine not paying our farm help because they wouldn't be there the next day.
so in my mind, i just kind of would like to know, how does this play out? >> well, let me talk about sex trafficking, because i did the example, you know, of the evil forces and i'm not saying that doesn't happen. typically what happens is a kid runs away. and a kid's hungry and cold and someone says, look, i'm going to take care of you. you come and live with me. the kid probably is talked into survival sex, which is, you know, if you want to stay here, now you're my boyfriend, now you're my guy, and then pretty soon it's like it's time to -- we need a little cash, we need a little something. you need to do this for our family. you need to do this for us. and then pretty much getting into the life. and if they meet with resistance, there's usually drugs and alcohol, other kinds of coercive ways to get into the
life. and then they are in a whole culture. and the culture is really, you know, i wish some of the trafficked victims were here to explain to you how you become number one and number two, so there's a whole pecking order among the women who are trafficked by typically one man. and so how that all -- and then, and then, and this is another reason why this is so complicated, so time comes you need more girls. they send the girls out, the other -- the victims out to recruit. typically go to where runaways hang out, go where marginal people hang out, say why don't you come with me, you're hungry, you're on the street. that's why that intervention is so important for runaway and homeless youth, because they are so vulnerable to this whole
pattern of attraction. and when we were in mexico, what we would hear, so it's different wherever you are, but in mexico there was a whole section, you know, of farm communities where the guy from town would show up and he'd have the nice car and the nice clothes, and he'd tell, you know, the woman i love you, the girl i love you, tell her parents that he's going to take her home to meet his father and his mother, and they are going to live in a big house, and boom. she's in the life. in mexico. and what we heard when we said how do we prevent this, they said these women have to come back and tell their stories about how they were coerced and how they were tricked into this -- into this life. and so it varies and the methods vary, but the one thing that the experts will tell you, is that any display of vulnerability,
you know, they know how to pick their victims. and they know what it's going to take to control their victims. and so it goes back to what i was saying about power relationships. and when you take someone down, a lot of victims of trafficking have been sexual assault victims at home. they are running away from a very bad situation at home. they've already been marginalized, so really to understand the dynamic, and suffering all that trauma makes recovery so much harder, because the trust level is to build any level of trust, and then to feel like you've lost in many ways your family because of the dynamic that's been built up around this culture. but at the end of the day, we
have to be able to recognize it and we have to say, look, we are not going to punish you, because you have experienced the worst victimization outside of loss of life that anyone can experience in america. and i believe that. i believe being sold, you know, into sex slavery has to be the worst victimization anyone can undergo. >> i agree. i also think that -- that so many of these kids, as heidi mentioned, are part of the child protective services, foster care system, all those. this is an area that this country is going to have to deal with in a major way. not just for trafficking, but in general. we have an entire generation of kids that are coming through this that are being not only ill served, but not served. and just simply disappearing and falling through the cracks. so that's something else that we as local state governments and
federal governments are going to have to deal with. >> and reporting of foster children who have run away. i mean, all of that. and the national center for missing and exploited children is doing some great work on tracking foster kids. >> so here coming up on the end of our time here, so i wanted to give you last words to impart. last words of wisdom for our audience. >> i'll go first, then you can. first of all, thank you very much for coming tonight. thank you to the volunteers that helped make this easy for us tonight. but most importantly, i'd like to leave you with one thing. if you can do one thing having walked out of here that could actually affect the life of a child, this is the area to do it in, because you will save a life. i cannot tell you the importance of being involved in this. we are in a perfect storm as a country right now, and i think as a world community on this issue. we're ten years behind where
domestic violence is right now, but people are talking about it. you're talking about it in general over the dinner table, in a business conversation, you're talking about it. so i encourage every one of you if you could pick any area of this issue in human trafficking, pick it, and work on it. because we need everybody in this. and gentlemen, i'm going to look you straight in the eye. i can sing till i'm blue in the face about customers and what it is to rape a child, statutory rape, you're a pedophile, child abuser, all these things, but men to men, men talking to men, you can play a vital role in stopping this. you can play a vital role, and i encourage you to get involved in it. >> what i would say is, we're going to deal with the symptoms of this cancer for a long time, you know, and so if we think how do we protect and help the victims, but i'd like you to
think about how we create a more resilience population to avoid victimization. how we not diminish human beings. and we've been working on a childhood trauma project, early intervention with children who have been traumatized, making sure that they get treatment for their trauma. i'm a big believer that a lot of issues that we have, pervasive poverty, you know, emotional abuse, disruption in the family, alcohol addiction, all of the adverse childhood experiences lead to a lower resiliency for our children. and so the best thing is to avoid childhood trauma, but second best is treatment of childhood trauma. that gets recognized. so early on making sure that we listen to kids and we believe kids when they say bad things are happening to them in their
home, and that we build a more resilient population, so that no matter what evil comes along, people can fight back one on one, but they need help right now. and so you're now the army that we hope to continue to grow to prevent human trafficking in our lifetime and to stop human slavery in our world. so thank you so much for having me and having cindy. [ applause ] on monday, oral arguments brought by the state of hawaii. a lower court ruling suspended
implementation of that order pending an appeal. if enacted, the executive order would impose a 90-day ban on new visas for citizens of six majority muslim countries. you can watch live coverage of monday's proceedings at 12:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. this weekend on "american history tv" on c-span3, saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern, c.r. gibbs talks about women who worked as nurses, soldiers, and spies for the union army during the civil war. >> she was the wife of edward banister, one of the leading artists, african-american artists, and she became involved on the underground railroad. she was a proud and consistent supporter of the u.s. color troops. >> at 8:00 on lectures in history, university of washington professor on the 1968
presidential election and events that affected the outcome. >> hero after hero is slain, john f. kennedy, martin luther king. so it precipitates a broader national mourning and now it throws the democratic nomination into even more turmoil. >> sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern, lynne cheney, author of "james madison" discusses president madison's personality, health problems, and political career. >> madison was lucky enough to encounter doctors who told him to exercise. what a modern thing to think. it's often recommended today for people who suffer from epilepsy. >> this month marks president jfk's 100th birthday and sunday at 8:00 p.m., jfk's nephew and an historian reflect on the life and career of the 35th president. >> he was a decorated combat veteran. he did believe in a strong
military, but he had a much broader conception about what american identity really was. >> he reached out across the aisle, he watched the peace corps on may 1st of 1961, incredible program for young people. he started with the alliance for progress. and he engaged in the space race. >> for a complete american history tv schedule, go to c-span.org. next, voter i.d. laws and other election regulations from this year's republican national lawyers association conference. the hour and 15-minute discussion took place at the national press club in washington, d.c. >> good afternoon. i am honored to introduce the three panelists we have for this election law update for this national policy conference.